Arnold Furious’s review:
I have several issues with Tim Burton's two Batman films. First, and foremost, is how uneven they are tonally. Skipping between serious and stupid, sometimes in the same sentence. Throwing puns into an important monologue for no reason, other than it being a comic book movie.
I also take issue at Burton's inability to tell a straight story without kooky and gimmicky gothicness. Yeah, this is better than the 60s TV show but only because they got a better standard of actors. In Batman Returns we have a trio of good turns. Danny DeVito is excellent, Christopher Walken even better in a non-powerered role and Michelle Pfeiffer is simply stunning. She's probably the best of all the Batman villains of the era. And she still has to reel off puns but does so in such a deadpan fashion as to not fuck up her scenes.
A lot of people blame Schumacher for ruining the Bat-franchise but you can't really wreck this because it wasn't that great to begin with. Maybe we just didn't notice until Nolan turned up and wiped all this away with his sense of perspective. Or perhaps we should have looked at Mask of the Phantasm and realised that it was possible to make a Bat-movie within its comic confines and not reduce it to a series of quips.
I may in the minority but I feel Batman was the beginning of the end for Tim Burton because people looked at his vision and justified it with praise. By the time they woke up and smelled the failure it was too late. Burton was convinced he was right.